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Portland by jbelwood and norm1116 - BlueJacket Kits Pre-laser kit purchased 1996 The 2019 Kit This is the order of construction per the BlueJacket manual. The Hull Priming by John Painting by John Partial deck mock up Paddle Wheels By John By Norm Paddle Wheel Boxes By Norm Walking Beam Funnel Assembly Sponsons By John and Clarence By Norm Keel, Stem, Stern post Rudder Waterline by John by Norm Cabin Profiles and Decks Main deck to saloon deck Cabin Sheathing and Paneling Rub Rails Trim Moldings Saloon Deck Hurricane Deck and Officer's Cabins Pilothouse Hurricane Deck Skylight Deck Fittings Davits and Vents Masts and Gaffs Stanchions and Railings Paddle Box Fronts Installation of Paddle Wheels Rigging Final Details Other: Walking beam at Annapolis Naval Academy Museum Other Annapolis Naval Academy Museum photos
I started building the Blue jacket model of the Portland 6 months ago. During that time i kept photographic records but was too busy to post. right now I am about 90 % complete. My past build are the Sultana, the Philadelphia, the Niagara, the Mary Rose. i belong to a ship building group in Portland Oregon. I have been building for about 5 years. Our group has a blog called Ship Class where we post the progress of our group . If any one is interested its http://woodenshipclass.blogspot.com/ In this first entry I will post the progress of the hull. The Portland is a solid hull. The shape is pretty good with a little sanding and priming it can be made ready. the instructions are a bit vague. It suggests using planking for the sponsoons. I decided to use wider bass wood. It was faster and easier to fill. The hull was primed several times until a smooth finish was obatained . I used rustoleum on the hull but quickly switched to Tamyia paint .. The rustoleum took to long to cure. and ended up crazing if I didnt wait a week or more between coats. Crazy.
After an absence of about 45 years I got back into ship modeling in March 2018. The Portland was a Bluejacket model that my wife gave me as a gift about 30 years ago. My workload then kept me away from starting on it and we've been lugging it around in a big box ever since. I formally retired in 1999, and somehow got tangled up in designing and building custom furniture. Then, early this year and 15 years later, I decided I'd done that long enough and started cleaning my shop in preparation for selling off my tools. It was at that point I re-discovered the Portland, languishing on a tall shelf and pretty well covered with sawdust. I almost tossed it, but couldn't resist giving modeling another try. Now I'm firmly hooked. What follows is a brief report and some of the things I learned during this build. I know that a build log is supposed to follow the build process as you go along, but last March I didn't have any of that in mind, didn't take many pictures, and had never heard of this fine organization that i'm now a member of. So consider this as a brief description of the build process relating to a 30-year old version of the Portland, the things I learned as I did it, and the results when I finished it. My next build log, relating to the Cutty Sark by Mantua Sergal will be started shortly and I'll catch you up with what I've done so far and have you follow me along as I tackle the heaviest lift - the rigging. Now for the Portland ... The Portland was a paddle wheel steamer that mostly served a route between Boston and Portland, ME. It looks to me like it was a pretty high-class ride. As is the case with many well-known ships The Portland sank in a violent storm shortly after departing Boston. There were no survivors. This is a solid hull wooden model, and the version I had to work with was not presented with laser-cut parts, etc. The pictures were not very clear, the directions assumed that I was an Admiral class constructor (I'm not) and I found the whole thing very difficult. Today's version of the Portland by Bluejacket looks to be vastly improved in quality & content. Check it out. As mentioned earlier, I didn't know I'd be submitting a build log, the pictures that follow are not as good as those found in many other build logs. After shaping the hull I started on the decks. They had to be laid out on provided plywood and cut out with a scroll saw. Thanks to my unfamiliarity with this work I had to make adjustments along the way (even going out and buying more plywood to replace the sheets that I ruined. It took me several weeks to reach this point. The directions re how to build the paddle wheels were so sketchy as to be useless. The spoked "wheels" were brass, but how to hold three brass wheels together and glue tiny individual paddle onto them was a real head-scratcher. Ultimately, knowing that the hub section of the wheels would be hidden, I simply glued rounded blocks of wood between all of them to hold them in position while I glued tiny paddle elements to them. And something else that the directions didn't cover well was the creation and shaping of the sponsons fore and aft of each paddle wheel. Bear in mind that I didn't have very many ship building tools. More experience with shaping wood elements (and a wood bender) would have been a big help. After this picture was taken I smoothed them out quite a bit and repainted that section. In this shot the decks had just been stacked so I could visualize next steps. Before gluing any of the decks in place I created the paddle wheel covers (had bought a wood bender by then), the small wheel house and the walking beam engine. The engine was a real puzzle to me and I had to Google "walking beam engines" to get a real clue re what I was doing. The Bluejacket plans weren't especially helpful. I did the engine at this point because it had to be in place to ensure that the decks surrounded it correctly. In this picture the boat is pretty close to completion, and I had grown comfortable with the concept of "making things up" at that point. For instance, the guardrails surrounding most of the decks were supposed to include brass wire stanchions, covered by a thin gauzy fabric (my wife tells me it's called tulle). The kit had some of that in it (as well as clear plastic for windows) but 30-years of storage, sometimes in attics, had ruined all of that stuff. So I installed wire stanchions and glued thin wood strips to them (white & gold painted). Not as classy as what Bluejacket intended, but I haven't lost any passengers yet. Here's a better angle showing the smoke stacks, their bracing and the life boats. The "Portland" decals on the sides were also destroyed by the years of storage, so I recreated them on PowerPoint and printed them out on glossy photo paper. I think they look better than the decals. The little red gates were not in the plans, but I thought the crew would appreciate easier access to things so I installed them. Also note that all of the decks and roofs were ultimately repainted with a nautical grey color instead of sea green I originally used. When I was done the ship was quite different than the real thing, or even what the model designers had intended. But it was darned good experience for getting back into the game, and my kids and other visitors think I'm a genius. Please don't rat me out.
Growing up in Pittsburgh I feel in love with the steam driven paddel-wheelers, (that gives away my age). I have built the Chaperon, and have decided to take on the Portland. I just ordered the kit, and will keep you posted.